Sarahgricius's Blog

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.

Chapter 5 Reading Notes February 24, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 1:25 PM

The value of a news release is to help achieve organizational goals. News releases, when they form the basis of stories in the news columns of newspapers and magazines or are part of a TV news hour, create awareness about ideas, situations, services, and products. Another factor about news releases is they are cost effective.

The basic questions when planning a news releases are:

-What is the subject of the message? What is the specific focus of this release?

-Who is this message designed to reach?

-What is in it for this particular audience? What are the potential benefits and rewards?

-What goal is the organization pursuing? What’s the organization’s purpose?

-What do you want to achieve with the news release?

-What key messages should this news release highlight? How can they be tailored to the format of a specific publication and its readers?

Parts of a traditional news release consist of six basic components: (1) letterhead, (2) contacts, (3) headline, (4) dateline, (5) lead paragraph, (6) body of text. And also the seventh element, often included at the end of a news release, is a short summary of the orgaization. A fact to remember is that the lead is the most important part of any release. In one or three sentences, you must give the reader the basic details of the story or entice the reader to read the second paragraph.

-Remember that you can also write a news release in e-mail format. Some “Do’s” are:

-include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phases re-inforce your message

-place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs

-distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape


-go link crazy. Too many links will confuse journalists and draw focus away from key messaging

-use low-resolution images. Opt for high-resolution multimedia that can be easily used by layout pros

-Use all tools, all the time. Focus first on the message. Use the bells and whistles to complement the campaign


Week Seven: Twitter February 23, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 10:16 AM

When I heard about our assignment to create a twitter account, I have to admit that I was nervous at first. I have heard of the concept before because some of my friends had to create accounts for this classes last year so they explained how it worked to me. I honestly, did not think that people would be that interested in my life so I was actually nervous about no one wanting to follow me. Within the first day of creating my account; I already have five followers and the number increased each day after that.

I found the most difficult aspect of twitter was updating my status. I didn’t find it important to tell others (whom I don’t know) what my everyday life was like or what I found to be interesting because I usually do that with my friends. Although from the other end I found it be quite intriguing when reading other people’s status’ because it was very informative and helped me to open my eyes to new websites and kept me updated with the PR world.

I do have to admit that most of my tweets involved only my life but I did try to fit a couple of interesting facts that I learned from class here and there. By continuing my twitter account, I believe there will be many benefits for my future career. My dream job is to work with celebrities or even fashion event planning, therefore by keeping my twitter account I can follow celebrities tweets and learn about their lives so I am in thrown into the real world I can already be prepared for their high demands. Also by following public relation specialists, I can listen to some of their stories that they have and how they fixed situations when they did not go exactly as planned.

I am looking forward to continuing my experience with twitter and am glad that was a mandatory assignment for our class to do.

Check out my twitter page at:


Week Six: What makes a story newsworthy? February 17, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 1:33 PM

The question that every public relations practitioner has to answer is what makes news, news? Public relations have to follow the elements that appeal to media gatekeepers because they are the ones that decide what will appear in the paper. Timeliness is a key element of what creates a story. When an event occurs that is within a certain time and has not been covered by any other newspaper, the gatekeepers will want to grab at this opportunity since no other newspaper has information on the event yet. An example is during holidays, have articles to pertain to the holiday such as cheap presents or ideas for presents. Prominence deals with grand openings, such as ribbon cuttings of a new store or possibly a celebrity appearance come speak at a local high school. Proximity stories, also called hometowners. A form of localizing a story is by highlighting various aspects of a person’s background in different publications. For example, a famous tennis player is being interviewed and talks about where he went to high school and where he use to train. Significance is any situation or event that can affect a substantial number of people. Global warming is considered as a hot topic, so publicists make the topic significant by focusing on the popular consumer items that may cause global warming. Unusualness is anything out of the ordinary that may attract press interest and public attention. A good story that would pertain to this element would be the biggest cake ever made or a celebrity male dressing up as a female. Human interest is the fact that people like to read about other people. By humanizing stories it is more likely that a gatekeeper would run the article. For example, a background article about a restaurant chief that is featured in the living section. Conflict happens when two or more groups advocate different views on a topic of current interest, this creates news. Covering a protest outside of a tobacco company building is interesting to individuals because it gives people’s opinions from both angles. Last is newsness, which is advertising and marketing people say that the two words they find most useful are “new” or “free”. So a great way to create a news release is announcing a new product or service from a company.


Week Five: Superbowl Ads February 15, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 7:15 PM

The commercials during the Superbowl have always created much hype in our society, sometimes people only watch the Superbowl in order to talk about the most entertaining commercials during the event.

I found the Volkswagen: punch-dub to be very comical. The tradition of punching someone in the arm when they see a Volkswagen has became a sort of game that is known by society. A variety of backgrounds and age appears in the commercial; from a women who is pregnant punching her husband on the way to the hospital, two cops radar gunning cars and a younger child punching an older person. But this advertisement is mainly targeted to the generation that can drive. Such as mid-age adults and teenagers that are just receiving their license. Although with teenagers, the ultimate decision comes down to the parents; some teenagers have say in what type of cars are appealing to them.

My other favorite commercial of mine during the Superbowl is the Doritos commercial: house rules. It is entertaining because it was completely out of the blue that the little boy would slap the person taking his mom out on a date. The house rules for the commercial was 1. Don’t touch my mom and 2. Don’t touch my Doritos, which means that his mom comes first in his life and the second most important thing are his Doritos. This particular commercial’s target audience for this commercial were to the younger crowd because it brought in the mix of adding in a child. When children see it, they laugh because it is their generation that is the main character is the commercial.


Chapter 4 Reading Notes

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 5:10 PM

Effective publicists need to know three things. First, they must be thoroughly familiar with traditional journalistic news values. Second, they must know where to find news and how to select the angle that will be most interesting to journalists and the public. And third, they must be problem solvers and come up with creative publicity tactics that effectively break through a forest of competing messages. The publicist must also overcome four obstacles in order to generate in the news media. The first obstacles is the media gatekeepers, second is the incredibly shrinking news hole, third is the reality that the traditional mass media is now fragmented, and it is no longer, possible to reach the larger public through a single medium, and finally the fourth obstacle is an information overload. Publicists must be familiar with elements if they are to generate the kind of information that appeals to media gatekeepers. Here are some of the elements:

-Timeliness, possibly the most important characteristic of news, is defined as news that is current. Ways to make news timely is to announce something when it happens, provide information or story ideas that relate to an event or situation that is already being extensively covered by the news media, timely distribution of publicity materials is to relate the organization’s products or services to another or services to another event that has national recognition and interest, and offering information linked to events and holidays that are already on the public agenda. An example is, Christmas is a major season for purchasing children’s toys, so the media are receptive to news release from toy manufacturers about products on the market

-Prominence happens when the news media rarely cover the grand opening of a store or anything else unless there is a prominent person with star power involved. The presence of movie stars, rock stars, and professional athletes at special events invariably draws crowds and the media, but an organization can attract media coverage by using other kinds of prominent people as well. For example, Home Depot got publicity mileage by having Brad Pitt appear at a news conference to talk about the company’s partnership with Pitt and Global Green to rebuild New Orleans.

-Proximity, also called hometowners, are custom tailored for an individual’s local newspaper or broadcast station by emphasizing the local angle in the first paragraph of the news release. For example, an insurance company, may announce that 150 of its agents nationwide qualified for induction into the “Million Dollar Roundtable” in sales. The publicist would localize using software to insert the names individual agents into the lead paragraph of the news release.

-The other elements to generate information are: significance, unusualness, human interest, conflict and newness.


Sarah’s Comments February 6, 2010

Filed under: Blog comments,PRCA 3330 — sarahgricius @ 5:37 PM


Title of post: AP Style bootcamp: flagging your AP style book

Author: Barbara Nixon


Date: February 2, 2010

The AP Style Bootcamp video was informative and a great idea. I wish I had this video to watch before I took my introduction to journalism course because I used the AP stylebook religiously in that class. The flags are a going to be a good and quick way for me to edit my news releases and articles I have to write for this class. Since I have had to use the AP stylebook in my previous class I am pretty comfortable with using it, although I do have to admit my weakest point is punctuation. I will probably take a day this week to read up on that section until I become familiar with the requirements. The Clean your Copy tutorial and quiz along with the AP Style bootcamp have both helped me to understand the grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.
Thank you,
Sarah Gricius
PRCA 3330 Writing


Week Four: NewsU Cleaning Your Copy

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 5:23 PM

For our week four learning assignment in public relations writing we were instructed to do an online seminar called NewsU Cleaning Your Copy. The seminar allowed you to learn and do exercises in four different sections; Grammar, AP Style, Punctuation and Spelling. I found that my weakest point was punctuation.

  • What did you learn?

The seminar helped me identify and solve problems in my writing way to. The concept of how to write in an AP style format was an important part of the seminar along with punctuation, spelling and grammar. The rule about (that/which) I found to be vital in my writing since I get confused about which one is correct. The rule states use which for clauses that offer incidental information; use that for clauses that give information necessary for the sentence. Also the rules for punctuation that deal with apostrophes was helpful. Examples of when to use an apostrophe and when not to are: The custom began in the 1920s. Temperatures will be in the low 30s. Mind your p’s and q’s. He earned three A’s and two B’s.

  • What surprised you?

I was surprised when I reviewed the spelling section and realized that I have a tendency to misspell a lot of the words. I also did not know that there was a correct way to format a phone number. Apparently the only way to correctly write a phone number is 770-554-7896. The AP Style book is very particular on whether to use figures or spell out the figure for distances, dimensions and speeds.

  • What do you want to know more about?

I hope to excel and learn in my punctuation and grammar. I took the C.Q. Test at the end of the exercises and mini quiz. Also I only got five right it was still a good learning experience because I could see my weak points and it taught me the correct format. I know that with the more practice I have, the more comfortable I will become in each section. Overall, the seminar was helpful and informative.